tv FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX April 25, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT
>> chris: i'm chris wallace and this is "fox news sunday." president obama's debt commission gets to work. how will they try to rein in washington deficits? we'll ask the commission's two chairs. former republican senator alan simpson, and erskine bowles, bill clinton's former chief of staff. it's a "fox news sunday" exclusive. then, the debate over financial reform heads for a senate showdown. we'll talk with the senate g.o.p. leader, mitch mcconnell. and in arizona, should authorities be able to check the i.d. of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant? we'll ask our sunday regulars whether this crackdown goes too far. all right now on "fox news sunday." and hello again from fox news in washington. the president's debt
commission holds its first meeting tuesday and his job couldn't be tougher. finding some way both parties will accept to cut the trillion-dollar deficit that is stretched to the end of this decade. joining us now are the two cochairs of the commission, former republican senator alan simpson and erskine bowles, who was chief of staff to bill clinton. gentlemen, let's start with the size of the problem. according to the non-partisan congressional budget office, under the obama budget plan, by 2020, the national debt will be 90% of the u.s. economy, that is the highest percentage since just after world war ii. senator simpson, how serious a threat is that to the country? >> well, you tagged it saying it might be the toughest job, certainly, that i had. i did 18 years in the senate. i did the iraq study group. we have done a lot of things -- americans for campaign reform. this is a suicide mission. i'm glad that my fellow
erskine bowles and i are jumping without a parachute. it is not just unsustainable, it's uncon chkunconscionable wh going to happen to the country unless we, politicians, non-politicians, academic and citizens realize we're not republicans and democrats first. we're americans. >> chris: mr. bowles, this president and this congress added trillions of dollars more to the deficit which was big when they came in office. why should we think they are part of the solution and not part of the problem? >> oh, chris, i think it's fair to say that when president obama came in, he inherited a budget that was structurally unbalanced. he inherited two wars. and he inherited an economy that was on the brink and he has taken some steps to try to bring it back. but i don't think we can look to the past. we have to look to the future. if you look at where we are today and you just look at the mandatory payments, they
equal the entire revenue that comes into the u.s. government. that means every dollar we spend today on the military, on homeland security, on education, infrastructure, transportation, it's all borrowed, half borrowed from foreign countries. that is a formula for disaster. the president has said he will be behind this effort 100%. he said everything is on the table. i believe him. >> chris: gentlemen, as you begin your work, speaking of yourselves, not for the panel, help us understand what your strategy is for attacking the deficit. i'll start with you, mr. s mr. simpson a crack at this first. are you looking for taxes? do you worry about after the deficit pushing the economy back in a recession? >> i don't worry about anything. erskine and i are in this one for our grandchildren. someone said they' they're stocg
horse for taxes. i'm not. i had a terrific record for this. this is for my grandchildren. this is not about what george w. did or this president did. this is a situation where i hope in my naive green pea way we can get all 18 of the fine people to say this is where we are. this is, this is where we are. we are using only the actuaries of social security. we are using only the actuaries of healthcare. we're using only c.b.o. figures. we're not going to go by our own figures. we're not going to say we're going to grow our way out of this. hell, we could have double growth for 30 years and never grow our way out of this. hopefully we can all say this is where we are. if we can do that -- that's my naive objective -- then we can start letting blood. someone said, "is the new healthcare bill off the table?" i said, "nothing is off the table." absolutely nothing. >> chris: mr. bowles, your strategy for attacking the
deficit and do you go after spending first or taxes? how do you go about this? >> chris, look, al and i are 100% together. we're a team. i know that sounds strange to washington to have a republican and democrat agreeing with each other, but we do. my strategy is the same at al. let's make sure the american people know we have a looming crisis. to do that, we have to have a real set of numbers. that means using the actuarial numbers from social security and from medicare, and using the numbers prepared by c.b.o. that most people agree are correct. congressional budget office. once we have gotten real numbers out there, let's see if we can persuade people to trust each other, come together and take some of the tough stands to bring down spending. >> chris: so you want to go after spending first before taxes? >> i think we have to go after everything. everything has to be on the table, whether it's revenue or spending. i personally would like to go after spending first. >> chris: senator simpson, you anticipated some of the
chatter here in washington. house republican leader john boehner has already called this commission. put it up on the screen. a "partisan washington exercise rigged to impose massive tax increases and pass the buck on the tough choices we need to make right now." question: you pride yourself on straight talk. do you really believe the republicans here in washington are going to be willing to go along with serious tax increases? >> well, i really wouldn't yank the old bones out of graveyard. that was a statement long ago and boehner appointed three fine people from the house minority, ryan, cave, the gentleman from texas. and we have talked to them. erskine and i talk to them and they say we feel that this is -- we must do something. we're here to do it. so, if the argument is always just going to be on any kind of thing erskine and i do, "well, let's see, you're going to do taxes first or
spending first?" i haven't the slightest idea. i know one thing. if we can get the figures before the american people, then we'll sit down and then all bleed and bitch from there. [ laughter ] >> chris: that's -- i think you have a bumper sticker right there, with that there. >> it's terrible. >> chris: mr. bowles, congressman raul grihalva, the head of the progressive caucus is already complaining about what you may do to social spending and he says this -- do "it's all about cuts, cuts, cuts." do you think the democrats are going to go along with cuts and social programs? >> they have to. if we're serious about balancing the budget and righting the fiscal ship, we have to have everything on the table and that includes entitlement programs. we'll never get to balance unless they're on the table. >> chris: let's talk about specifics you have to face. senator simpson, pick up on
what mr. bowles just said. speaking of yourself, not as a member of the commission, do you see big savings to be made in social security? >> social security doesn't -- if people of good will can get together on that baby, we can solve that one in half a day. social security is the least of our problems. but the thing that is really impossible to believe is that whatever adjustment we make and whatever has been suggested for the last ten years in social security reform, from top to bottom, you know, new dates, more contribution, none of that affects anybody over 57. where do i get my mail? from these old cats 70 and 80s years old who respect effected in one whiff. people living in gated community and drive a lexus to perkins restaurant to get the aarp discount. this is madness. >> chris: so if you can do it in half a day, give us a quick formula, bullet points. what is it that you think you
have to do? or what can easily be done to save trillions of dollars out of social security? >> what we have to do is re-establish trust. it's corny, really corny to say that the 18 of us have to establish trust. knowing that nobody is going to lay there in the weeds and leak stuff. knowing that nobody is just there to drop a bomb or come armed and just fray the whole thing. if it doesn't work i'll go home to cody and i won't suck my thumb and say i did my very best. >> chris: are you talking about -- i understand you are talking about people under 57. are you talking about raising the retirement? age are -- retirement age? higher -- >> i don't foe. but there are think tanks all across the country taught to resolve social security. like in '83 when moynahan and dole and people on both sides of the aisle got together, it doesn't take long to solve it because they had all the facts they needed. so do we. >> chris: mr. bowles, barack
obama -- i don't have to tell you -- campaigned in 2008 for president on a flat pledge he would not raise any taxes. not income taxes. not any taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year. do you feel bound by the president's pledge? >> what i feel bound by is the president looked senator simpson and me in the eye and he said, "everything is on the table." so we are going to look at every single way to right the fiscal ship, whether it's cutting the sacred cows that you just talked about or raising revenue. we have to have everything on the table. we have to discuss it fully. we have to establish trust. once we do that, then we've got a chance just like we did in 1997 to get to balance. >> chris: mr. bowles, what do you think of a value-added tax? >> look, i think it's something that ought to be on the table. i think there are many good arguments that you can make for a value-added tax or consumption tax, as opposed to tax on wages. but i think it's just one of the things that ought to be on the table we ought to
discuss. i'm not for taking anything off the table. >> chris: but, again, as one member of the commission, do you have an opinion? do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea? >> i have an opinion about lots of things. i want to see everything go on the table, i want to see the pros and cons discussed and i want to see us make decisions and hard recommendations. >> chris: senator simpson, what do you think of an value-added tax? >> i think if everyone would get serious -- you can't do a value-added tax without dealing with the income tax. if you just want to shriek in the vapors, the value-added tax will destroy everything, fine. but anything we do we'll be doing in some kind of balance. you can't have a v.a.t. tax and then leave the present structure. look at camp conrad, who is a member of this commission. he has written a remarkable book about the entire income tax. how unfair the whole thing is. we have the ability, and i hope the trust of each other, to adjust and put together a package. and if the american people
and the congress don't like it, then just let them sink, because greece is sinking on debt and deficit. spain is next. portugal is next. how would you like to be the united states of america when china pulls the tin cup and says we don't want t-bills, we want money? that's where we are. it's serious business. >> chris: all right, senator, your deadline for coming up with a proposal for the president and congress is december 1. which coincidently is after the election. is that a cop-out? are you, in effect, giving politicians a pass on having to say what they think about this? and preventing voters from being able to say in the election what they think about these ideas? >> as erskine and i are involved in a project, screw the american people, fool them, fake them out. i mean what is this about? december 1 has to be after the election. one of the congressmen wanted it october 1. what a c.y.a. that is! do it october 1 so then pick
a part to get you re-elected. so we're going to come up -- i hope we can come up with legislative language. what do you think of that? options, legislative language. what is a cop-out about reporting on december 1 to the most important thing that effects everyone american for the next, you know, decade? what is the cop-out about that? >> i think al is totally right. it's not a cop-out. it's a cop-in. it gives the politics out of it and gives us a chance to build trust to get to real hard recommendations. >> chris: finally, gentlemen -- i'll ask you both and start with you, mr. bowles -- realistically, and i looked. over the course of the last two decades there have been four separate commissions on some of the issues and none of the recommendations from tax reform, medicare, social security, none of the recommendations have become lo law. let me ask you as you embark on this -- i'll start with you, mr. bowles -- what are the chances you can come up with recommendations that become law and take a big chunk out of the debt? >> neither one of us have any
idea. you know that, chris. i know in 1997 when president clinton brought me back to, "balance the budget," not a soul believed it could be done. we established trust on both sides and we made progress. i believe working with alan simpson we can make progress. >> chris: the last word, what are the chances you'll get something done here that in effect helps your grand kids? >> well, i really do. i think we can. as i say, i've been called "naive." i have been on commissions. we didn't always work but we came out with legislation. i was on the iraq study group where five dems and five re pubs had to agree on every word. we suggested the surge. now they adopted about 57 of those. i don't look upon everything with cynicism. i am really a nut. i believe in optimism. i believe that the american people when we tell them honestly where they are -- let me tell you, they are out
in the street. you can talk to anybody in this country in laramie or charlotte or dubuque and they will say something is very wrong here. what do we have to do? we're going to try to tell them. >> chris: senator simpson, mr. bowles, thank you both so much for talking with us. we'll follow the commission's work and over the six months please come back, gentlemen. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. thanks very much. >> chris: up next, senator republican leader mitch mcconnell. will the g.o.p. make a deal on financial regulation? some answers when we come back. ♪
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>> chris: joining us now the g.o.p. top man in washington, senator republican leader mitch mcconnell. senator, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> glad to be with you. >> chris: let's start with the tough immigration law that the republican governor of arizona signed friday, which requires police officers to check the status of anyone that they reasonably suspect could be an illegal immigrant. do you support the law? do you think it's constitutional? what about the claim it will lead to racial profiling? >> i think the real question is what we'll take up immigration here in washington? there are two things missing that were there in 2007. in 2007, we had a rather low unemployment rate. and we had a president really committed to taking up the issue. two of the cabinet secretaries were up during the debate for six weeks. so i think the question for us is: are we going to go forward up here? and it strikes me that with
all the border security problems we have down there, they're worse than they were three years ago and with 10% unemployment, it's not a great time to take this issue up in washington. >> chris: are you prepared to comment on the arizona bill? >> i haven't studied it. i know it's quite controversial. but studying a state law is not something i normally do. and i just haven't looked at it in detail yet. >> chris: don't republicans -- and some would say this is the whole point of the new democratic zeal in congress for pushing immigration reform. don't republicans run the risk of alienating a large and growing bloc of vot voters: hispanics? >> look, i think it's an important issue. we have an enormous number of people who are in this country illegally. the important question what to do with them? guest worker issue. of course, now we have a very high unemployment rate. i just don't think this is the right time to take up this issue with the border security problems, drug wars going on across the border, 10% unemployment.
it strikes me that the time would be better spent at the federal level on other issues. >> chris: all right. turn to an issue you are dealing with; and that is, financial regulation. senate democratic leader harry reid called for a vote sometime monday afternoon/monday evening to cut off a filibuster by republicans to bring the financial regulation bill to the floor of the senate. is there a bipartisan compromise? if not, do you have the 41 senators on board to sustain the filibuster? >> well, we don't have a bipartisan compromise yet. but i think there is a good chance we're going to get it. what i'd like to see is an opportunity to prevent the democrats to doing from the financial services industry what they just did to the healthcare of this country. we saw the c.m.s. report on friday. we know that everything -- >> chris: those are the health and human services actuaries. >> actuaries. looking at what would be the impact of this bill. and he virtually confirmed everything that senate republicans were saying about the healthcare bill. it's not going curb costs. a whole lot of budget
gimmicks, on and onment we wa -- on and on. we want to make sure they don't have the same view of healthcare. my view is similar to wall street, the "washington post" editorial page, which said this morning this bill needs to be improved. $50 billion bail-out fund needs to come out. we need a system in there under which creditors can expect they'll be treated fairly, similar to the bankruptcy laws. we need to have capital requirements. none of that is in the bill that the majority leader would try to have us take up on monday which came out on a strictly party line vote. that is not the best place to start. >> chris: i'll press the question i asked you before, though. do you have the 41 republican votes to sustain the filibuster tomorrow? >> it's my expectation we will not go forward with the partisan bill tomorrow. that will stimulate the kind of continued discussion we have to get it right along
the lines that the "washington post" is recommending this morning and along the lines i think is the best way to go as well. >> chris: let's talk about a little bit about that. the big argument as you framed is it whether the democratic bill will prevent bail-outs as the democrats claim or whether it will enable more bail-outs as you claim. senator, isn't the $50 billion fund you criticize -- that was part of the "washington post" story, too. isn't it a failure to liquidate the failing firms and not to prop them up? >> the issue whether it's good idea to raise the money and stick the money in there -- the president's secretary of treasurer agrees with me. the "washington post," as i indicated, agrees with me. it's better not to prefund, no matter how you fund it, whether it's a tax on banks or whatever it is, a fund that creates expectation it will be used. in addition to that -- >> chris: what would it be used for? liquidate, not to prop them up. >> it would be used in the same way that we use the tarp
funds back in 2008. and, you know, that is a bad idea. what we need to do is make it virtually, if not impossible, to be too big to fail. the way you do that is enhanced capital requirements. >> chris: enhanced capital requirements is in the current bill. >> not in the way that we would do it. and second, don't suggest to creditors that if you are a friend of the government you're going to be treated better. we saw that in the general motors deal. the government treated the unions better than it did the bondholders. we need to have creditors understand that they're likely to be treated very, very similarly to the way they would be in bankruptcy law in this country. that kind of stability, i think, is a better place to start in the senate than this partisan dodd bill that came out of committee without a single republican vote. >> chris: and you are saying until you get satisfaction on the issues -- and it sounds like there are several issues, not just the $50 billion fund. >> yeah. >> chris: you're saying until then you believe you have a solid republican vote to keep
the bill from getting to the senate floor. ye yeah -- >> yeah. it's not ready yet. over the weekend the democrats were arguing themselves over the derivative part of it. they're not even in agreement on that. chris, this is not a situation where anybody i know in the senate wants no bill to pass. but it is important to pass a good bill. >> chris: you just heard the two chairs of the president's debt commission. are there any circumstances under which you could accept as part of a grand bargain, a grand deal tax increase? >> let me just put it this way. i appointed my members and i assume that this is a serious effort. a serious effort to do something about arguably our biggest problem, which is the mountain of unfunded liabilities we have coming our way, that everybody understands. and so i don't think it's a good idea to appoint members to a commission. and then start telling them what they can and can't do. i will give you my own opinion.
my own opinion is we don't have the problem in the country because we tax too little. it's because we spend too much. but i didn't sit down with the three members of this commission that i appointed and tell them what to do. they're going to meet in good faith, come up with a recommendation. and whether or not it ultimately passes frankly will depend upon what it looks like. >> chris: all right. i'm asking not only as individual senator, forget the question of the commission, but as an individual senator, coince deptly the top republican in the u.s. senate, could you accept a compromise which had serious spending cuts and also had tax increase? >> if i start telling the commission -- >> chris: i'm asking you personally. >> i have told you that me personally, i don't think we have a problem because we tax too little. i think we have a problem because we spend too much. >> chris: aren't we headed for a deadlock? because anything accept to believe both sides obviously will have to include, to get the democrats on board, spending cuts and tax increases? >> we have to wait and see, won't we? they are going to report in december. we'll take a look at the
report. my understanding is, the majority leader and the speaker are committed to taking the measure up in december. my support will depend entirely on what it looks like. what it recommends. >> chris: you were part of a bipartisan group that went to the white house this week, met with the president about his upcoming supreme court nomination. you can see pictures here of you in the oval office with the president and other congressional leaders, senate leaders. did you come away with any sense of whether the president is looking for someone who can be easily confirmed, or conversely whether he's looking for someone who is more liberal and therefore would stir up more of a confirmation battle? >> no, he didn't tip his hand. frankly, if i was in his shoes i wouldn't either. the only thing i said to the president on this issue it ought to be an orderly process, not a rush to judgment. i mean, this is a lifetime apointment. a very significant position. we're going to treat it fairly. and go through process of looking at the record of the
individual. >> chris: you have seen as we all have of the list of half dozen to ten nominees. are there some people on there that you just hate or conversely people on there you could support? >> i wouldn't want to mention anyone. i know there would be no chance that person would be appointed. [ laughter ] i don't want to eliminate somebody's possibility of being on the supreme court by suggesting that i might find them a worthy selection. >> chris: you think it would be a badge of dishonor? >> yeah. i think it would not do them any good. put it that way. >> chris: in 2005 when the democrats were in the minority and they were filibustering judicial, bush judicial picks for the bench, you said this -- put it on the screen. >> chris: question: are you willing to say right now that you will not filibuster, you may vote against, but you will not filibuster president obama's nominee? >> it's interesting. in the meeting this week, senator leahy, senator
sessions, senator reid, president and vice president were there. only two of us never filibusters a supreme court nominee. senator sessions and myself. the president and vice president and leahy and reid had all filibustered justice alito. we had a big debate about that around the time that you just pointed out on the screen. and unfortunately, the no filibuster ever on judges lost. that was my position and position of senate republicans but democrats established that is a possibility. it's highly unlikely, however, unless the nominee is an extraordinary individual outside the mainstream with really bizarre views. but now that the democrats established that as a precedent, against my better judgment, that is the precedent of the senate and remains a possibility. >> chris: but you put it out as pretty remote and extraordinary circumstance. >> yeah, i never filibustered
a nominee. the vice president and senator reid have. so far i've never done that. it would take an unusual nominee to justify that. >> chris: finally, i want to ask about florida politics, which everyone seems to be getting swept into these days. several top republicans, including mitt romney and dick cheney this week endor endorsed the former house speaker marco rubio in the battle for the senate g.o.p. primary in florida. you have endorsed governor charlie crist. are you taking back your endorsement? >> that was over a year ago and a lot has happened since then. the governor crist says he might be running as an independent. my advice is to compete as a republican. he has been a republican all of his life. and to remain within the party. i hope he will do that. >> chris: are you taking back your endorsement? >> not today. [ laughter ] >> chris: but he has to decide by next friday, right? >> i think if the governor were to decide to run as an independent, he won't have any republican support.
>> chris: if he decided to run as a republican, would you still support him? >> i year ago i said i would support the governor. at the time he wanted our support to get in the race and we were not sure we'd be competitive in florida. >> chris: are you troubled by what he has done? >> i would be troubled if the governor decided to run as an independent. i think that would be a serious problem. and he would certainly not have any support or any republicans that i know. >> chris: senator mcconnell, thank you for coming in. it's a pleasure to talk and sometimes even to spar with you. >> thank you, chris. >> chris: up next, the controversial new arizona law cracks down on illegals. we'll ask the sunday regulars if the measure goes too far. after the break. hey what's going on? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way.
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we in arizona have been more than patient waiting for washington to act. decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation. >> chris: arizona governor jan brewer on friday explaining why she decided to sign the toughest immigration bill in the nation. and it's time now for our sunday group. brit hume, fox news senior political analyst and contributors mara liasson of national public radio, bill kristol of "the weekly standard" and juan williams also of national public radio. let's take a look at what the new arizona law does. put it up on the screen. it makes it a state crime to be in the u.s. illegally. legal immigrants must carry
paperwork proving their status. police are required to check anyone they have a reasonable suspicion is illegal. and people can sue local governments if they think immigration laws are not being enforced. brit, is it good policy and is the resident supreme court justice, tenth justice, do you think it will stand up to court challenge? >> i'm not sure it will stand up to court challenge. they see it as usurpation of federal law enforcement function; that is, protection of the border. i think it's emergency policy. i think it will be a trick to train the police officers in that state so that they can carry out this mandate to check anybody who they have a reasonable suspicion of being in the country illegal without engaging in profiling or violating their civil rights. i think that is going to be very difficult to do. i think there will probably inevitably be civil rights violations.
the question really, that seems to me, is did arizona act reasonably here under the circumstances by passing this,draconian law? i think the answer may well be yes, because they are facing a serious crisis there induced by the presence in their midst of a lot of illegals, some causing terrible problems. it's a big problem for republicans to be responsible for this. it won't be possible, it's controversial, alienate latinos, a big vote. but i think the fault laws with the utter failure of the federal government in washington to deal with this issue. >> chris: mara? >> i think as a political document, i think i agree with brit. i think it will further cement the image of republicans as the party against hispanics and it's really cost them at the polls when that image was created in 2007. interestingly enough one thing on the list of provisions that the law does, will be in any final
immigration bill, some documentation, i.d. card or whatever. that is going to be something that is a permanent feature when we finally get a resolution. but i do think that it has added to this conversation about whether or not we should move forward, that congress should move forward right now or not with an immigration bill. >> chris: before we get to the politics, i want to go back to the merits of the bill. and the claim from critics that it institutionalizes racial profiling on a number of areas. supremacy clause, article one of the constitution, which gives the -- you can see i've done a little studying up on this. i want to get it out. [ laughter ] which gives the federal government control over immigration. and also the 14th amendment on reasonable search and says s says -- see su seizure. does it violate the constitution? >> i don't think it violates anyone's civil rights. i'm liberal on immigration.
i purported the mccain p propos proposal. this is not draconidraconian. it won't lead to civil rights violation. will a few people get stopped because a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a person is illegal? will he be stopped on the street and asked to provide a driver's license? yes. that is the huge horrible civil rights violation that is going to cur f occur five or eight times or 13 times in arizona. but meanwhile, they have half a million illegal immigrants and there are huge crimes committed near the border. it's not unreasonable. here is what a politician said friday as part of the alleged hysteria of immigration. "people here in america illegally need to get right with the law, pay a penalty and pass criminal background check or face removal." you know who said that? barack obama. that is the spirit of the law. >> i'm sorry if it's the spirit of the law -- >> it's what he wants. president of the united states and he is doing nothing about it. half a million illegal
immigrants in the state of arizona and arizona decided finally maybe we could try to do something about this. >> chris: juan? >> mitch mcconnell was here this morning and he says the problem in arizona is the federal government has not acted. why has the federal government not acted, bill? because republicans so far refused to do anything about the illegal immigration crisis in america. >> you're right. republicans control the presidency and the senate and the house. >> chris: -- >> as i recall president bush tried to do something and then what happened? republicans in the senate blocked any effort at immigration reform. ronald reagan did something about it in his time. why is it that republicans today refuse to do -- >> juan, that was then. this is now. >> yes? what is the point? >> we don't have control that works. >> now we blame everything on the democrats at this moment. >> no, juan, we're now coming to the end of a second year for this president. he has control of everything. his party has controlled, you know, the congress toward the latter stages of the bush years. so there has been plenty of
opportunity here. now they are going to try to move an immigration bill in the senate. >> right. >> we'll see. >> chris: what are the prospects you think -- >> what are the prospects with almost uniform republican opposition? that is the reason it's been paralyzed or frozen for so long. now we get local action and it's imprudent action, i think, as our studious friend chris wallace says. it's a violation of the constitution. you know, unreasonable search and seizuseizure. eight to 13 times someone will stop a guy on the street? is that what you said? no. anybody with hispanic accent or brown skin will be harassed. >> you think that's what the arizona cops are like? looking for people to harass? >> the mayor of phoenix said that. you know what? governor brewer in making her announcement said we are going to try to prevent this kind of thing from taking place. she acknowledges this is a huge problem. i know having been recently in mexico, there is a huge drug problem and a huge drug
crisis coming across the border. but this is something for the federal government to deal with. the fact that washington refuses to deal with it is just, it's just terrible. it's evidence our government is not functioning. >> i agree with you. i think that's right, juan. it is. at this point it seems to me there is plenty of blame to go around. the idea that washington is totally controlled by one party that you blame the minoriity party for the problem is unuunreasonable. >> chris: we saw something from mitch mcconnell. conventional wisdom is this is putting it to ahead of energy reform, and push immigration reform is smart move by democrats because they get on side of the hispanics, they'll mobilize and vote for democrats in november. mitch mcconnell put the opposition to it in terms of we have a serious economic problem, we have 10% unemployment, there are americans looking for jobs.
we can't be worrying at this point about how we get more immigrants into this country. >> there is a serious question about timing. not just for the economy. because this in the teeth of a recession. but also for the democrats. i think over the medium term, i mean by 2012, this is a must-pass piece of legislation for democrats. they cannot go before the voters in 2012 without having done this. now, for 2010, i think it's a completely different matter. i think although in the long term it's more divisive for republicans, they cannot win national elections while alienating the biggest growing bloc of voters. in the short-term, divisive thing for democrats. >> chris: bill, your thoughts how it plays politically? i think most people in washington thinks there is very little chance they'll pass immigration reform before the november election. but how it plays politically plus or minus for the president and the democrats to be pushing immigration reform? >> i think it cuts both ways.
honestly, it's a political matter, i would be tough on illegal immigration and run a risk of being portrayed as anti-hispanic. a lot of hispanics citizens are upset about illegal immigration. than the opposite. harry reid is making a judgment based on nevada, trying to save his seat in nevada, that could damage them around the country in the races. >> chris: we have to take a break. but when we come back, new effort to bring down our nation's ballooning debt. we tackle both topics after the break. somewhere in america... there's a home by the sea powered by the wind on the plains. there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life. and there's a train that got a whole city moving again. somewhere in america, the toughest questions are answered every day.
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why they should back his financial reform plan. we're back now with our panel. so, brit, senate republicans are now saying we can get an agreement. we heard it from mitch mcconnell just here. if we just keep talking a little bit longer, but meanwhile, senate democratic leader harry reid scheduled cloture vote tomorrow, monday, to try to end a filibuster and bring the financial regulation bill to the floor. your sense of who has the momentum at this point? >> i think there is momentum behind this bill. i don't think the republicans will pay a very stiff price if they keep it from coming to a vote or coming to the floor right now. in the long run, i think the chances of a bill are pretty good. i do think, as inevitably as the case when you engage in a new act of regulation, there will be all kinds of unintended consequences that will cause all kinds of problems. i think this about the politics of it. it seems that the democrats are mad about big government
and they hate wall street, too. we're now going to line up as the scourge of wall street, scourges of wall street and that will renew people's faith in us. i think the intensity of the anger against wall street subsided a great deal since the height of the financial panic and i think the democrats will not get out of this, the kind of political gain they expect. i think they may pass a bill and cited as an achievement and help in some way, but i don't think it's that big a deal anymore. >> chris: mara, let's talk about anger toward wall street. we have the goldman sachs suit and now we had leaking of e-mails that don't make the goldman sachs executives, you can argue fairly or unfairly, don't make them look that good. top people from goldman sachs will be before a senate hearing this week. do you think that this is something that the democrats can ride public anger against wall street in general and goldman sachs in particular? >> i think the fact that there is so much public anger against wall street is why you are not going to see more than maybe one attempt by the republicans to stop the bill
from coming to the floor. i can see that they could stop the motion to proceed once, but in the end, you're going to get bipartisan support for this bill. one thing that mitch mcconnell mentioned this morning that he doesn't like, that $50 billion bail-out fund. the white house doesn't want it either. i can see it being dropped pretty easily. i think that if the republicans were as confident that the wall street anger had diminished, they would be putting up a bigger fight on the bill. >> if the democrats were as confident as they pretend to be, they wouldn't releasing e-mails. what is that about? the senate banking committee, if i'm not mistaken, released private e-mails from goldman sachs. >> chris: i think it was senator levin. >> sorry. he authorized releasing e-mails on the grounds that the committee was doing a serious investigation. released e-mails that are simply, they say, embarrassing. it's an outrage, actually. this is now -- now any business in the united states has to worry any e-mail sent anywhere at some point, three years later, it could make
you look embarrassed. i say this as no fan of goldman sachs. lloyd blankfine is testifying and the core issue is the rule of law and the notion that this bill increases executive authority discretion so much as opposed to other ways of fixing the financial crisis because of the bankruptcy code and the like, bad to increase authority of the discretion of the government to washington this much. that is the core objection to the bill and the core dispute over the bill. for president obama to pretend -- the only reason you might not like this bill is if you're interested in bilking people as he said is ridiculous. >> it's not ridiculous when you read the e-mail. the core hearing is not the release of e-mail but the content of the e-mail. the e-mails reveal they are saying, people at goldman sachs are saying you know what? we're going to make money while investors are losing money. in fact, we'll have a windfall they say in the e-mail. that is the outrage in case you missed it. that's why public outrage
over the behavior by the wall street titans is over the top. and i might add, you know what else? [ overtalk ] >> they'll do it again. >> levin is the publ public official. if he believes it should be transparent let's see the e-mail to his staff. >> you are lost in the weeds on this. it doesn't matter who released -- >> it doesn't matter? >> rule of law in washington. >> you sit at your desk at your corporation, guess what? your boss can read your e-mail. that is not the issue. >> you know what? >> it's these people -- >> he is not the boss of every employee at goldman sachs. >> that is a very revealing statement, juan. >> we all work for carl levin. that is the future -- >> what about the people putting money in the wall street firms and being gyped? >> chris: gentlemen, we can continue this on panel plus. let's turn to the debt commission, because you heard the cochairs, alan simpson and erskine bowles talk about to the degree they were willing to tip their hands what their plans are.
what do you think are the chances by the end of the year we'll have serious deficit reduction? >> serious deficit reduction? >> chris: yes. >> or a plan calling for serious deficit reduction? >> chris: either. >> i think the commission will agree we need serious deficit reduction. i think the committee will probably lay out a list of ways to get there without necessarily picking any. i don't know whether they can agree enough on that. the idea that by the end of this year that this fiscal train wreck, which refers not only to the current extraordinary levels of debt, but all this unfunded liabilities going forward, social security, medicare in particular, that there will be some kind of serious effort there, i think is pipe dream. it won't happen that quickly. or that soon. i just don't think it's possible. >> look, i think at the very least the commission will form a really and perform important educative function. people will hopefully understand by the time they're define on december 1, what the problem is, what the consequences are.
>> chris: don't you think everybody knows that already? >> i don't know. >> chris: you don't think the tea partiers out there know there is a big problem? >> they know it's a problem. other people think the problem would be solved if they raised other people's taxes or benefit cut. people have to understand what will happen to everybody for the problem to be solved. and there is -- every economist says in the next couple of years, this isn't down the road anymore. the can has been kicked as far as it can be kicked. there will be an action-forcing event. whether it's china saying i doesn't want to finance us at low interest rates anymore or something happen and this problem will have to be solve and the commission is the first step. >> chris: bill, as a practical matter of politics, does there in the end, whether it's with this commission or at some point, have to be a grand compromise of spending cuts and tax increases to get everybody to jump off the cliff together? to use my "thelma & louise" analogy. >> no. unless we expect the increase
in government. if we don't accept that, we can reduce the size of government and have the same spending burden as before when the budget was more or less balanced. >> wow! in the last two years that's the problem. in other words we didn't have a deficit before the last two years when we didn't put the wars on the books, we didn't account for that. or we didn't provide some source of funding or financing for medicare prescription drug benefits for our seniors. oh, so before that, we didn't have any deficit problems? is that right, bill? >> the deficit in 2007 if i'm not mistaken was $130 billion. it was the surplus in 2000, wars are winding down and it would go back to surplus if we didn't have a huge splurge of spending under president bush and obama. and the entitlements are a problem and need to be reformed. >> a huge problem! we made sufficient cuts and we may have to have more with medicare spending. you come to something like social security and here is where the problem is. are the tea party people willing to say yes, you know what? we're going to raise the age
requirement for social security and we're going to cut benefits. are they willing to say that? or do they just want to scream at washington over taxes? that is the question. you have to have some accommodation. that's why brit says he doesn't believe it will happen. i got to believe at some point the american people say you know what? we want responsible, activists politicians. >> i have more faith in the tea party people than the bipartisan commission. and i think the tea party people are willing to look at entitlement cuts. absolutely. >> i hope so. >> chris: thank you, panel. see you next week. don't forget to check out the latest edition of panel plus where our group here continues the discussion. we will on this suggest on our website, foxnewssunday.com. we promise we'll post the video before noon eastern time. up next, we hear from you. ♪ [ male announcer ] we call it the american renewal. because we believe in the strength of american businesses. ♪ ge capital understands what small businesses need to grow
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>> chris: but doreen rosenthal had a different take -- >> chris: please keep your comments coming. you can find us at foxnewssunday.com. that's it for today. have a great week. we'll see you next "fox news sunday." we'll see you next "fox news sunday." of captioned by closed captioning services, inc